VERY good question. Genius and excellence is found in many varieties. Sports, arts and performing arts give us, to quote, "vivid examples". Yet, there are less celebrated, yet cherished varieties such as leadership, visionary, meticulousness, diplomatic, amiable/friendliness, craftsmanship, warrior/soldier, on and on. It is almost a crime that there is such focus on academics as the most favored type of genius.
VRW Conspirator - you gave a serious reply on a thread reserved for wisecracks. Not very brilliant of you! Bzzzt! But thanks for playing! /jk
This is very much Gardner’s theory of “multiple intelligences.” There was an attempt in the 1990s to utilize these categories in grammar education; I was involved in the start-up of a charter school that used this concept of multiple intelligences as the foundation of its charter.
NCLB essentially derailed a lot of that, because of its demand on outstanding performance in testable academic subjects in order to continue to receive any Federal funds. (The 11% of our budget we got from the Feds wasn’t a huge proportion, but for a charter school - where every penny counts - we had to consider the fiscal realities. We couldn’t afford to give that money up.
It is a great idea, but as long as student success is measured purely by high scpres on “dot tests,” academic performance will be the “most faavored type of genius.”
This, by the way, was the one area where your ideas match almost exactly the philosophies of the teachers in the classrooms. The teachers had all come to our school with years and years of classroom experience, and they knew first-hand the different types of genius that certain children are born with. They all were tremendously enthusiastic about being able to use a variety of standards.
We spent a lot of time in committee developing “rubrics,” which created testable performance standards in non-traditional study areas. It was very difficult work, since the entire school system, from the Post-War era on, is based on the “give them a test and see how smart they are” model(thanks, Stanford-Binet.) The laziest and least-involved teachers will always prefer to use traditional academic testing, since it requires so little effort to administer,